Throughout my experience, I have been to many dance studios. One thing I notice is that classes are often dominated by girls. I have even been to one dance summer camp long time ago where I was the only boy out of 32 girls. And yes, the feeling is tough.
It is not true when it comes to the circles for improvised street dancing out in the fields. But, as far as dance schools go, male students are overwhelmingly minority. This is particularly the case in the smaller studios.
If you are a guy thinking of going to dance studios, the gender stereotype must come to your mind. In North America, there is still cultural stigma that favors girls over guy dancers unless you are really good. In such culture, many boys/guys feel shy about showing off their move in the dance floor.
Even for those who have made it to the studio are often dragged by someone else. Many dreamers still hesitate to join schools by themselves.
This post is for those boys who are thinking of dancing but are shying away from the girls dominated studios.
The loneliness of not having a single man
It seems that there is a hesitance indeed for only one boy among a group of girls. If the guy is from elementary school, the feeling is not as bad. But anyone older than high school would feel excluded.
When you see such environment, the feeling of embarrassment prevails over the parameter of "I want do dance" in him. It leads him to inaction altogether.
Even in a lesson for man-like middle school hiphop, being the only man in the room puts an immeasurable pressure for himself.
I understand. I understand that very well. It feels embarrassing and lonely.
But it is waste of your motivation not to dance because of temporary embarrassment.
For those guys who are interested in dancing but facing such dilemma, there are 3 options to take.
- Take courage and jump in
- Invite your friends and start together
- Gain confidence at home
Please choose which one you like.
Take courage and jump in
Regardless of the size of dance classes, most of them offer tryouts. Take the tryouts and then decide to accept and continue or stop.
It is the simplest and easiest to experience first hand of what it is like to be the only guy. There is nothing to lose by taking a trial class.
There is one important thing you will come to realize.
During the lesson, students only see their teacher and themselves. There are no one who is thinking about her peers looking around. They basically do not care about you.
When you actually finish one trial class, you will think how stupid it is for you to suffer from being the only guy or feeling shy for dancing awkward.
If you are satisfied with that situation and go over the mental hurdle, you will notice that the environment of which there are more boys or girls is totally unrelated to your dance learning.
Invite your friends and start together
If you still feel uncertain going to classes alone, look for a friend who is interested in dancing and try inviting them.
This friend of yours can be boys or girls. It does not matter. The importance is you are going to a new environment with someone you know.
As with any social circle, entering an already established group of people is always difficult mentally. Joining in with a friend will always make the barrier low.
Knowing that people close to you are receiving the lesson at the same time feels more sense of security than when alone.
Gain confidence at home
The very sense of feeling uncomfortable when dancing for beginners is that you do not want others to see your imperfection. You want to appear cool to others. That perfection desire gets amplified when surrounded by other genders. Who would want to appear stupid in front of girls?
It is always recommended to combine instructor-lesson dance practice with self teaching.
You can always find some YouTube videos to practice at home (see "Use YouTube dance videos to your advantage"). Even with the small confidence you gain, it makes it much easier to focus on dancing in the studio instead of the people around you.
Having said that, I have to warn that you should not stay at this self-learning stage forever. It is tempting to achieve perfection, but that time will never come. No one who is perfect. There is also bad habit to watch out for in the beginning. You should seek out for as much feedback as possible.
Practice the basic steps for a little bit, and let's go onto the studios.
Jump into the studio!
There are considerable number of guys who are secretly admiring to dance.
With starting out dancing, there is nothing you have to give up. Actually, you may feel dancing is not that much fun after taking the lessons in the first place. That is fine as well. At least you have figured it out, and moved on.
If you have that interests of "it looks fun" or "I want to give it a try" somewhere in your heart, I definitely want you to challenge for a trial lesson.
If you can get over the above points 1 and 2, You should jump in. It is easy really. I suggest saving the self-taught practice for the last option if you are a complete beginner.
You called out a friend, but no one is on board...
That can happen to many people, but that does not mean you should give up. You can flip your thinking into it is your friends who would be interested in dancing once you become good at it. That is the more productive idea.
You should not blame your friends for not joining or studios for having too many girls. You can only blame yourself for inaction. It is always you who decide to dance or not.
I hope this blog post has given you the push needed to set your foot one step forward.